Friends, family and fellow tennis enthusiasts gathered at Bourne Green Tennis Club to pay tribute to the late Betty Murley, who passed away at the age of 90 in August 2023.

The dedication took place on Sunday, December 17 with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in her honour.

Colin Essex, a respected LTA and BTCA tennis coach, shared heartfelt memories of his 15-year coaching journey with Betty.

Despite initial skepticism from other coaches who deemed her "too old" at the age of 75, Colin took Betty under his wing and became not only her coach but a close friend.

"Betty was incredible," Colin said. "Until March this year Betty turned up almost every week in all weathers in my ladies group sessions, always receptive to new tennis skills.

"She loved match play and was always able to keep score accurately. She was a joy on the court and taught us all that age is just a number.

"She will be sorely missed."

Sir Cliff Richard pictured with Bourne Green Tennis Club stalwart Betty Murley. The pair shared the same tennis coach, Colin Essex, for some 15 years prior to Betty's death aged 90 in August
Sir Cliff Richard pictured with Bourne Green Tennis Club coach Colin Essex (Colin Essex)

Colin, who also coaches Sir Cliff Richard in Barbados every February, added Betty was thrilled she shared a coach with Cliff for so many years.

To honour Betty's legacy, Colin requested the placement of a plaque on the tennis court bench, which was officially unveiled during the ceremony. Betty's daughters, who traveled from Scotland, cut the ribbon in a touching moment witnessed by the gathered ladies.

The ceremony also included the release of two balloons – one with 'BETTY' written on it and the other with 'TENNIS', capturing the essence of Betty's love for the sport.